If you live for 25 more years, you may see a new Highway 47 from Washington to Union and St. Clair. It may be that far down on the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) project list, according to Judy Wagner, area engineer for MoDOT. That is, unless new funding is found.
There is a solution that would speed up the work. It is cost-sharing with the state. It’s a mega millions project to make Highway 47 a four-lane highway to relieve traffic congestion, eliminate the bottleneck at Highway 47 and Highway 50 in Union, and to do away with the multiple in-and-out accesses between Union and St. Clair.
MoDOT in cost-sharing improvements will pay 50 percent of a project’s cost. It is up to the local entities to fork out the other 50 percent.
An excellent example of a cost-sharing project is Highway 100 from Washington to Interstate 44. Washington voters approved a special sales tax to pay 50 percent of the cost. The traffic on Highway 47 between Washington and Union is as heavy, or more, as was the traffic on Highway 100 prior to four lanes on 100.
A countywide sales tax for improvements on Highway 47? A sales tax in Union and Washington only? Those are considerations if thoughts about cost-sharing become serious.
There would be benefits countywide if such a project would move forward. Wagner, at Monday’s meeting of the Washington Area Highway and Transportation Committee, left little doubt that the Highway 47 improvement would be approved if it would be a cost-sharing project. MoDOT has a special fund for cost-sharing projects. Highway 47 probably is Franklin County’s most serious road problem.
The congestion on Highway 47 between Washington and Union is heavier than between Union and St. Clair. Serious accidents are more common between Union and St. Clair because of the many in-and-out accesses.
How would the county’s citizens feel about a countywide sales tax for a four-lane Highway 47 between Washington, Union and St. Clair? What about citizens in Union and Washington if those two entities proposed a Highway 47 cost-sharing sales tax?
A property tax increase would not be acceptable to citizens of Franklin County. A sales tax is the only route to take if there is serious thought to propose it.